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Re: relationship with Ubuntu - call for feedback

On Oct 21, 2011, at 19:57, Allison Randal wrote:
> On 10/21/2011 10:33 AM, Andrew Starr-Bochicchio wrote:
>> On Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 9:51 AM, Iain Lane <laney@debian.org> wrote:
>>> There is a push, and coming with it a growing movement, to get
>>> applications into Ubuntu via a new Application Review process (aka
>>> extras.ubuntu.com) which is a parallel repository available for stable
>>> releases only that is not a part of the distribution.

This is not so different from what maemo does: http://wiki.maemo.org/Extras
>>> I have seen numerous people advising authors to direct their packages
>>> towards this new process instead of the usual Debian→Universe→Backports
>>> route into a stable release.
>>> Some members of the community are promoting, in tandem with these
>>> developments, a push for a smaller Universe and indeed a questioning of
>>> why one would want to contribute upstream at all. Here's a couple of
>>> quotes from recent mailing list threads
>> <snip>
>>> It seems to me that this is a fundamental shift in what we consider a
>>> distribution to be, becoming a 'platform' on top of which people offer
>>> applications (the app-store model which the software centre promotes)
>>> rather than a collection of all the great Free Software out there. I
>>> fear a negative impact on both distribution developer motivation and the
>>> quality of the distros (including a knock-on impact on Debian as
>>> upstream) if this new method of distributing apps takes hold and the
>>> next generation of nice applications never see themselves in the
>>> distribution.
>>> WDYT? Is there a real problem here?

Personally I think it is somewhat overstated. Let's not forget that an Ubuntu package will likely be installable on Debian.
>> As an Ubuntu developer who also contributes directly to Debian, it
>> certainly has made me question my future roll in Ubuntu.

I think it is exciting to see people with Ubuntu experience join Debian. I think this should be something Debian would encourage. Some of those Ubuntu folks have helped Debian a great deal.

> The new Application Review board (ARB) in Ubuntu takes it as part of the
> primary charter to direct developers upstream to Debian, with some
> helpful guidance in how to package, and how to take up maintaining their
> package in Debian.

This is very good news.

> One submission (out of a total of 6) that went
> through the ARB has already gone upstream to Debian, and is moving
> out-of-cycle updates to Ubuntu Backports. Another currently under review
> used to be packaged in Debian (lost maintainer), so we're guiding the
> developer in how to revive it.
> The developers we get through the ARB are a different level than Debian
> usually works with. Many have no packaging experience at all, some
> submit tarballs, some don't even know how to create tarballs. It's a bit
> like tier 1 mentoring. The overall goal is still to train them up, in
> the expectation that some will get more and more involved, and
> eventually join the ranks of DM/DD as well as Ubuntu developers.

This is incredibly important. Yes, Debian has mentors.debian.net but that is still not the easiest path to getting your software into Debian. In working with maemo I remember packaging as being something that maemo developers thought was onerous, complicated, and a black art. If Ubuntu can provide a good introduction to Debian packaging, everyone wins.



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